The FMA’s proposed amendment is titled “The medical liability claimant’s compensation amendment.” The ballot summary states: “Proposes to amend the State Constitution to provide that an injured claimant who enters into a contingency fee agreement with an attorney in a claim for medical liability is entitled to no less than 70 percent of the first $250,000.00 in all damages received by the claimant, and 90 percent of damages in excess of $250,000.00, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs and regardless of the number of defendants. This amendment is intended to be self-executing.”Justice Fred Lewis noted the ballot summary doesn’t reflect “that citizens of Florida may not be able to obtain counsel and have access to court because you’re going to limit it in such a fashion that no one will become involved in these kinds of cases, which is really the underlying purpose here, it seems.”Grimes responded: “I submit that’s an argument that could be made. But on a facial assertion of that, I don’t think it would be such that would be cognizable in this case.”Grimes said the amendment would benefit clients because it will allow them to keep more of the recovery.But Chief Justice Anstead said it also could be argued that it doesn’t benefit claimants at all “because now they may not be able to find counsel to represent them in these cases because of this compensation limitation. Is that not an alternative argument?”“I think it is an argument that you could present to the voters if it gets on the ballot,” Grimes said.Buddy Jacobs, representing the Bar’s Trial Lawyers Section — which is made up of both plaintiff and defense lawyers — said the amendment is “almost seductive” in the way it is worded.“We are on behalf of claimants; we want to make sure claimants get this amount of money and that amount of money,” Jacobs said. “But still you’re restricting the rights of the claimants or the persons who are the victims of malpractice; you’re restricting their rights to pay lawyers. Well, the folks that aren’t here today are going to see this on the ballot, and they’re going to say, ‘Well gosh, this is wonderful.’ It is almost seductive, says we are going to guarantee people to have these kinds of percentages and recovery. Doesn’t talk about whether they can pay their lawyer, hire their lawyer, or how much they get paid.”Mills contended the amendment violates the single subject provision and that the ballot and title are substantially misleading.“I don’t think there is any dispute that this amendment supercedes and affects totally for the future the area of medical malpractice and perhaps other things.. . ,” Mills said. “It also has effects in areas such as, potentially, comparative liability, joint and several liability. There are some broad potential impacts. The most important impact is I think the impact on the court.”Mills said the most dangerous precedent would be for the court to approve an amendment which has declared itself self-executing because Art. V, Sec. I, states that the courts operate the judiciary. Academy, FMA square off over amendmentsMark D. Killian Managing EditorThe Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments in what Justice Barbara Pariente described as “tit for tat” proposed constitutional amendments being advanced by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and the Florida Medical Association.The academy has proposed three amendments, being sponsored by its political committee Floridians for Patient Protection. One would revoke the license of any doctor who loses three malpractice or disciplinary judgments; the second would give patients access to confidential peer reviews and adverse incident reports (which now are immune even from subpoenas); and the third would require doctors to charge the same rate for the same services for all patients.Working through its political committee – Citizens for a Fair Share – the FMA’s proposed amendment would limit how much money lawyers can make in a medical liability case.Over two days of arguments June 7-8, the court reviewed each of the four amendments to ensure that they do not contain more than one subject, and that the ballot title and summary accurately reflect the content of the amendment.Late on the second day of arguments, Justice Pariente marveled that the lawyers involved advanced the same arguments on consecutive days, depending on whose amendment was before the court. Each side represented their amendments as simple and straightforward while characterizing the other’s as ambiguous or misleading.“I am having trouble distinguishing the argument today from the argument yesterday, as far as this seems like four amendments that are going to perhaps cause a great deal of litigation if they are passed,” Pariente said.Three Strikes Academy, FMA square off over amendments One of the AFTL’s amendments would amend the constitution to bar licensure of any physician found to have committed three or more incidents of malpractice. The ballot title reads “Public Protection from Repeated Medical Malpractice.” The ballot summary states: “Current law allows medical doctors who have committed repeated malpractice to be licensed to practice medicine in Florida. This amendment prohibits medical doctors who have been found to have committed three or more incidents of medical malpractice from being licensed to practice medicine in Florida.”Justice Charles Wells asked if that meant that if a doctor who had three “friendly suits” go to judgment 40 years ago and had no subsequent malpractice incidents would lose his or her license if the amendment passed. And in contrast, if a doctor who settled three malpractice cases in 1990s, without going to judgment, would be allowed to continue to practice.“That is correct, your honor,” said Timothy McLendon of Gainesville, representing Floridians for Patient Protection. He added that the measure is intended to remove discretion from the state agency that deals with licensing doctors and conceded, “it may inflict some hardship on certain people.”Justice Wells noted the ballot summary says doctors “who have been found to have committed three or more incidents” of malpractice would lose their license.“I think I would reasonably believe that, if a doctor settled three cases for $1 million each, that that person would be covered by this amendment,” Wells said. “But he is not.”That’s the point, said Tallahassee’s Stephen Grimes, a former justice representing the FMA, who argued the summary is misleading.“The voters could not conceive of the fact that maybe his family doctor is going to get disenfranchised,” Grimes said.McLendon said in order for past cases to count against doctors today, those old cases must meet the current definition of malpractice and, if passed, the measure would only apply to a “minuscule” number of doctors.Patients’ Right to Know Another AFTL amendment would give patients the right to see adverse incident reports relating to doctors and health care facilities they use, including those that could cause injury or death. The ballot title is “Patients’ Right to Know About Adverse Medical Incidents.” The ballot summary reads: “Current Florida law restricts information available to patients related to investigations of adverse medical incidents, such as medical malpractice. This amendment would give patients the right to review, upon request, records of health care facilities’ or providers’ adverse medical incidents, including those which could cause injury or death. Provides that patients’ identities should not be disclosed.”Justice Wells said he is concerned that voters reading the summary would be led to believe the amendment gives patients the right to review records of health care facilities “and that would leave the connotation that it is the health care facility that I was at, as opposed to it just opening it up to the world.”McLendon responded that, combined with the title, the summary makes it clear that “we are talking about consumer information and that it is meant more broadly than simply the acquisition of your own records.”“Why didn’t they simply say that then?” Wells asked. “Why didn’t they simply say.. . ‘all medical records are public,’ period? And that is what it says, right?’McLendon contended “the average voters of reasonable intelligence” will understand the chief purpose of the amendment is to make medical records available.Justice Peggy Quince asked who determines if the records being sought are adverse records.“This tracks the Patients’ Bill of Rights in the Florida Statutes, and in the Patients’ Bill of Rights it explains the type of incidents that would be adverse medical incidents, and our summary also makes it clear when it speaks about incidents such as would cause injury or death,” McLendon said.Wells, however, said nowhere in the amendment is the Patients’ Bill of Rights mentioned.McLendon noted the amendment also does not call for the creation of new records, just making records that already exist available to patients.Harold R. Mardenborugh of Tallahassee, representing the Florida Dental Association, attacked the proposed amendment, saying it should be stricken because it would substantially impact more than one branch of government.“The most fundamental impact is that it will effectively overrule the work product privilege that this court has put in place,” Mardenborugh said.“But isn’t that what all constitutional amendments do — override some pre-existing law in virtually every case?” Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead asked.“This requires only the disclosure of that which is already collected as a matter of law,” said Jon Mills, representing Floridians for Patient Protection. “This is a simple amendment directed to overruling an exemption.”Same Fee July 1, 2004 Managing Editor Regular News The third AFTL-proposed amendment would require doctors to charge the same rate for the same services for all patients and is titled “Physician Shall Charge the Same Fee for the Same Health Care Service to Every Patient.” The ballot summary states:“Current law allows a physician to charge different prices for the same health care provided to different patients. This amendment would require a physician to charge the same fee for the same health care service, procedure or treatment. Requires lowest fee which physician has agreed to accept. Doesn’t limit physician’s ability to provide free services. A patient may review the physician’s fee and similar information before, during, or after the health care is provided.”“I guess the question is whether, if a physician charges certain patients $1,000 for a service but ends up accepting from some patients, after the invoice goes out, accepting $800 for that service from one patient, does he then have to accept $800 from other patients, or can he accept more or less, as long as the invoice says $1,000 for everyone?” asked Justice Raoul Cantero.McLendon said the question hits at the prime problem that amendment is intended to address: “The practice of cost shifting, under which physicians discriminate between patients, in terms of allocating the cost, the changing of the fee for their services, and, yes, this amendment is intended to stop that practice.”“So if a physician accepts from Medicare, reimbursement that some may argue is less than the cost of providing that service, this would require a physician to accept the Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement schedule for all services rendered, regardless of the client’s ability to pay?” Justice Kenneth Bell asked.To which McLendon responded: “The doctors would have absolute ability to value their services. Once they have done so, in a context, whether it be Medicare or somewhere else, they could not charge anyone else a lower fee.”Bell, however, noted the individual physician does not set Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement rates, but are instead required to accept the reimbursement rate established by the government.“There is a rate that is set,” McLendon said. “But the participation by doctors is voluntary.”“So they would have to choose not to participate in Medicare or Medicaid if they did not want to be bound by this amendment, correct?” Bell asked.“If that rate was too small, then that would be one of the choices they could make,” McLendon said.Justice Peggy Quince also noted the amendment says nothing about HMOs or other third-party payers.Malpractice Fees
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Real Madrid took control of the Spanish title race by beating Real Sociedad 2-1 away on Sunday to move top of La Liga above Barcelona after a second-half high on controversy.Madrid captain Sergio Ramos broke the deadlock in the 50th minute by converting a penalty after Vinicius Jr went to ground in the area following contact from Sociedad’s Diego Llorente.Sociedad thought they had levelled with a strike from Adnan Januzaj from outside the box but the goal was ruled out after a VAR review showed Mikel Merino obstructing the view of Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois without touching the ball. Their sense of injustice deepened a minute later when Karim Benzema doubled Madrid’s lead in the 71st after controlling the ball with the top of his arm although Merino ensured an exciting finish by lashing in off the crossbar in the 83rd minute.However, Zinedine Zidane’s side clung on for the win to move level with Barca on 65 points after 30 games but climbed above the Catalans, who were held 0-0 at Sevilla on Friday, due to a superior head-to-head record. Sociedad are sixth on 47.Madrid’s trip to San Sebastian was full of intrigue after Barca failed to beat Sevilla and the Catalan side’s defender Gerard Pique said the title was now Madrid’s for the taking.He appeared to suggest decisions had gone Madrid’s way in their 3-0 win over Valencia last Thursday. Zidane’s team had benefitted from a Valencia goal that was chalked off for an offside against a player who had not touched the ball and there was a tangible sense of deja-vu when Januzaj’s equaliser was ruled out due to Merino’s position.”We’re angry with everything but mainly with the way we lost, because the little details and the big moments went against us,” said Merino.”I was at least five metres from Courtois when I was flagged offside. I don’t know if the same thing would have happened had it been in the other area but the flag went up and we feel that we have been wronged.”Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde, however, felt the three points were deserved.”In my opinion we were the superior team against a very tough opponent, we knew how to cope with them and how to hold on to our lead,” said the Uruguayan.”We’re so happy because it was such a hard game and when you win a game like that you should enjoy it.”Topics :
BLOG: Early Detection Helped Tom and Could Make the Difference for You, Too Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf February 24, 2016 First Lady Frances Wolf, The Blog Tom and I announced this morning that Tom has been diagnosed with a treatable form of prostate cancer.Tom’s doctors made the diagnosis after a regular checkup revealed abnormalities.We are very thankful that Tom’s doctors caught this cancer quickly and have worked to plan a treatment schedule that will address his medical issues and allow him to serve the people of Pennsylvania.You can learn more about prostate cancer and early detection from the Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Cancer Institute.Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Early detection is important and promising research shows accurate screening tests and preventive measures should help reduce the risk of death from prostate cancer.The American Cancer Society recommends that starting at age 50, men should talk to a healthcare provider about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them.But early detection can help make other types of cancer and many diseases much more manageable for you and your family. Learn more about early detection of all types of cancer from the American Cancer Society.We encourage everyone in Pennsylvania to make sure you schedule regular checkups with their doctors and be aware of screening guidelines so early detection and treatment can be possible.Take a moment today to schedule a checkup with your doctor. It made a huge difference for our family – it could for you too. By: First Lady Frances Wolf SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Governor Wolf Announces Restaurants May Increase Indoor Occupancy to 50 Percent Starting September 21 September 08, 2020 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Economy, Press Release, Public Health Restaurants to self-certify that they are in compliance with appropriate orders Governor Tom Wolf today announced that restaurants may increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent starting September 21. To ensure that these businesses operate safely as Pennsylvania continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and to instill customers and employees with confidence knowing that they can dine safely, restaurants will commit to strictly complying to all public health safety guidelines and orders through a self-certification process.“While our aggressive and appropriate mitigation efforts have kept case counts low, we must continue to take important steps to protect public health and safety as we head into the fall. At the same time, we must also support the retail food services industry that has struggled throughout this pandemic,” Gov. Wolf said. “The self-certification ensures that restaurants can expand indoor operations and commit to all appropriate orders so that employees and customers alike can be confident they are properly protected.”Restaurants that self-certify will appear in the Open & Certified Pennsylvania searchable online database of certified restaurants across the commonwealth. Consumers will be able to access this database and find certified businesses in their area, ensuring that consumers can make more informed choices about the food establishments they are looking to patronize.The self-certification documents and information about the Open & Certified Pennsylvania program can be found online starting September 21 and will contain the following:A list of requirements contained in the current restaurant industry guidance and enforcement efforts;A statement that the owner has reviewed and agrees to follow these requirements;The business’ maximum indoor occupancy number based on the fire code; andA statement that the owner understands that the certification is subject to penalties for unsworn falsification to authorities.Any restaurant that wishes to increase to 50 percent indoor capacity on September 21 must complete the online self-certification process by October 5. Business owners should keep a copy of the self-certification confirmation they will receive by e-mail. Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons. Further, starting September 21 restaurants that have alcohol sales will close alcohol sales at 10:00 PM.Additionally, restaurants that self-certify will be mailed Open & Certified Pennsylvania branded materials, such as window clings and other signage designating their certification, which they can display for customers and employees.The self-certification will be used as part of ongoing enforcement efforts conducted by Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, and will be shared with the departments of State, Labor & Industry and Health, and other enforcement agencies. Restaurants operating at 50 percent capacity will have their self-certification status checked as part of ongoing enforcement by these agencies starting on October 5, and will focus on educating businesses. The commonwealth will continue its measured approach to easing restrictions, keeping the rest of the targeted mitigation tactics specific to the food retail industry in place as restaurants increase capacity to 50 percent.Further, a restaurant’s listing in the Open & Certified Pennsylvania restaurant database shows it cares about its customers, employees, community and the economic future of the state.The self-certification process is modelled after a similar mitigation effort in Connecticut, and the alcohol sales limitation is modelled after a similar mitigation effort in Ohio.Boosting consumer confidence is critical for restaurants, as according to the most recent Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, only 40 percent of Americans are comfortable dining in local restaurants.“We recognize the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Pennsylvania’s small businesses, especially on our restaurants,” added Gov. Wolf. “Through this self-certification process, our commonwealth’s restaurant industry will ensure the safety and well-being of both employees and patrons alike, and will be able to begin a return to normal operations and financial recovery.”Restaurant owners with additional questions about the self-certification program can contact [email protected] July, following the recommendations of the federal government and in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases, Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed orders for targeted mitigation efforts for all Pennsylvania businesses in the food services industry, including restaurants, wineries, breweries, private clubs and bars. Commonwealth and local agencies continued and even increased appropriate enforcement measures.The governor has urged the General Assembly to support his plan to provide additional recovery for small businesses, including proposing $100 million in forgivable loans and grants for the hospitality, leisure and service industries.The governor has also urged Congress to quickly provide financial relief to the nation’s restaurants by passing the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act. The bipartisan bill in Congress provides $120 billion to help independent restaurants with the economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.Ver esta página en español.
Jazz at Lincoln Center has announced the three top-placing high school jazz bands in the nation that took the highest honors recently at the prestigious 23rd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York.The first-place winner is Dillard Center for the Arts from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The second-place winner is Newark Academy from Livingston, NJ and third-place winner is Tucson Jazz Institute from Tucson, AZ. Honorable Mention is Beloit Memorial High School from Beloit, WI and Roosevelt High School from Seattle, WA . Beginning on May 10, the top 15 high school jazz bands in the country participated in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival and were immersed in three days of mentoring, jam sessions, and workshops. The competition culminated in the May 12 concert wherein each top-placing band performed with their choice Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member as a soloist. The final concert also featured the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – whose members served as mentors for the finalist bands throughout the week – performing repertoire made famous by Duke Ellington. Each finalist band was chosen by a panel of judges comprised of distinguished jazz musicians and historians: Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis; composer, arranger, acclaimed pianist Bill Charlap; big band leader, drummer and Grammy-nominated recording artist Jeff Hamilton; acclaimed musician and former Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Todd Williams and renowned flautist, saxophonist, composer, educator, and EE Alum Erica von Kleist. At the ceremony, Wynton Marsalis presented awards to each of the 15 finalist high school jazz bands. Dillard Center for the Artsaccepted the first place trophy and an award of $5,000. Newark Academy accepted the second place trophy and an award of $2,500.Tucson Jazz Institute accepted the third place trophy with an award of $1,000. Roosevelt High School and Beloit Memorial High School received honorable mention with an award of $750. The remaining ten bands were each awarded cash awards of $500. All monetary awards are to be used for improving the jazz education programs of each respective high school.